In Focus This Week
Defending democracy–and yourself
How elections officials can defend themselves and their networks against doxxing
By M. Mindy Moretti
Shortly after the 2020 general election a website threatening the lives of state and local elections officials emerged. The threatening site included photos, email addresses, phone numbers and even home addresses of the election officials. Some officials were forced to temporarily move or separate themselves from their families for safety sake.
While the site itself was shocking, the amount of personal information it had on elections officials was not. Publishing the personal information of someone is referred to as doxxing, it doesn’t take an enemy state to do it.
Personal identifiable information (PII) like home address, personal phone number, what the inside of your house looks like—if it’s recently been listed for sale, either by your or a previous owner, all of that and more is easy to find with a few simple Google searches.
“The use of doxxing to intimidate election officials seems to have decreased but I feel like the threat is still there,” said Jennifer Morrell of The Elections Groups. “Meaning, we still continue to be reminded of those that experienced it in 2020 or hear of a few people still being doxxed and it’s enough to make election officials and their staff anxious that they could be next.”
Removing your personal information is time consuming and it’s likely you’re not going to be able to remove it all but going through the exercise is important.
“Not only does it reduce your online profile but for me personally, helped me to discover old online accounts that I had forgotten about where the company had been involved in a data breach or where my password was an old password lacking the complexity that is now recommended,” Morrell said. “It also forces you to think about your social media settings; whether you want pictures and posts to be public or private or whether you want to be on a particular social media platform at all.”
Earlier this year, CISA released a CISA Insight on mitigating the impacts of doxxing.
Additionally, The Elections Group, in partnership with BrightLines, produced an excellent primer on how to get personal information removed from the Internet and what to do, unfortunately, if an official has already been doxed.
Defending Democracy: Protection Election Officials From Digital Threats walks users through how to secure their online presence including scrubbing as much information as possible from the Internet and creating a more secure environment for yourself moving forward. Officials can do this work themselves, or there are organizations that can help manage parts of the process.
“Election Officials see what’s happening – in elections, but also in schools, and hospitals, and they are girding themselves for a tumultuous stretch. Election officials are nameless, faceless, public servants no longer,” said Noah Praetz with The Elections Group. “They are the face of an institution under threat from foreign and domestic actors adept at using the internet to spread the rage. Understanding and either accepting or trying to limit the risks that come with having your personal information on the internet now is just a part of the job.”
How to be public while being private
While elections officials need to protect themselves and their families, as public officials they also need to be available to the public. According to Whitney May, co-founder and director of government services with the Center for Tech and Civic Life, even though doxxing and harassment of election officials are serious, troubling trends that need to be addressed, election officials should resist the temptation to wall themselves off from the public out of self-protectiveness.
“As public officials, election officials should strive to keep the lines of communication open with the people in their community, and this means hearing the positive feedback along with the negative (and even the groundless),” May said. “It’s inexcusable to harass and threaten election department staff, but we still think it’s important to keep the dialogue open. An election official who’s unreachable can easily be viewed as unaccountable, and that will ultimately hurt — not help — the deficit in public trust that the election administration community is facing.”
May said one good option for election officials is to use the opportunity to work with a city or county attorney to develop a policy for how your election department should receive, log, and respond to phone calls and emails from the public. May said a big part of why this communication is upsetting comes from election officials feeling “I don’t know what to do about this,” and having a policy helps address that. Here are a few things that the policy should do:
- Be in compliance with state laws regarding open records and freedom of information requests
- Consider usability of communication tools so that they don’t make the process unnecessarily complicated for the public and for staff
- Include a reporting framework for how to escalate messages as needed
Moving beyond policy ideas and into a few practical suggestions, CTCL advises election departments to consider how tech and logic might be able to automate or streamline some of the communication. A simple way to think about this is, how might election departments categorize messages from the public and channel them to the right places?
“We know, for instance, that election departments are being swamped with FOIA requests right now, and there’s no need for messages like those to mingle with routine election inquiries like ‘How do I register to vote?’ or complaints like ‘Why did you close my old polling place?,’ May said.
According to CTCL, election departments can do things like set up their phone systems to prompt callers to select a phone line or voicemail inbox that corresponds to the topic of their call. Similarly, election website contact forms can prompt people to choose a topic. In this way, you can help channel messages to individual staff members who are best positioned to handle them rather than having all the messages go to the same place and the same person. Even something super simple and low-tech like setting up a few office email addresses for specific topics — things like voterquestions@countyelectionsgov, email@example.com, and firstname.lastname@example.org — could help to categorize the communication that comes in.
While there were thousands of pieces of elections-related legislation introduced at the state level this year, only a small amount addressed threats to elections officials and none of it addressed the privacy of officials’ information specifically. Morrell with The Elections Group thinks that should change.
“In the current environment, it may be that elections officials’ personal information will need to be protected similar to how such information is protected for law enforcement and other figures in the criminal justice system. Many states elect Sheriffs and judges — making them directly accountable to the public,” Morrell said. “That accountability does not grant the public the right to know personal information about these officials, and understanding the implications of malicious actors being able to easily access this information has led states to prudently protect access. The same protections should be extended to elections officials and their staff.”
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2022 EAVS Public Comment Period
2022 EAVS Public Comment Period
Comments due by Jan. 28
In compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) announces an information collection and seeks public comment on the provisions thereof. The EAC intends to submit this proposed information collection (2022 Election Administration and Voting Survey, or EAVS) to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget for approval. The 2022 EAVS asks election officials questions concerning voting and election administration, including the following topics: Voter registration; overseas and military voting; voting by mail; early in-person voting; polling operations; provisional voting; voter participation; election technology; election policy; and other related issues.
Comments: Public comments are invited on: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency’s estimate of the burden of the proposed information collection; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the information collection on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology.
Comments on the proposed information collection should be submitted electronically via https://www.regulations.gov (docket ID: EAC-2021-0002). Written comments on the proposed information collection can also be sent to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, 633 3rd Street NW, Suite 200, Washington, DC 20001, Attn: EAVS.
Election News This Week
Language Requirements: According to figures released by the U.S. Census Bureau this week, The number of people in counties requiring elections officials to provide voting materials in languages other than English jumped by almost a quarter over the past five years. More than 24.2 million people live in 331 counties and other jurisdictions requiring the language assistance under the federal Voting Rights Act, a jump from 19.8 million in 2016, the last time the list was updated. The overwhelmingly majority of residents in these jurisdictions require Spanish language assistance. Among the other languages in which voting materials are required, depending on the jurisdiction, are Cambodian, Chinese, Filipino, Hindi, Korean, Vietnamese, as well as several American Indian and Alaskan Native languages. The new list reflects the increasing diversity of some U.S counties and other jurisdictions. Prince George’s County, Maryland, a majority-Black county outside Washington, was added to the list because of its growing Hispanic community. Minnesota didn’t have any counties on the list in 2016, but two Minnesota counties were included in 2021 — Ramsey County with a Hmong language requirement and Houston County to account for its American Indian population. In Philadelphia, officials already were required to provide language assistance for the Hispanic community but now must also do the same for the Chinese population.
Funding Challenges Dismissed: Wisconsin elections officials from both parties threw out a challenge to private grants that helped cities run their elections during the COVID-19 pandemic. The series of rulings by the state Elections Commission is the latest instance of authorities rejecting claims that the grants were illegal. Over the last year, three courts dismissed lawsuits over the grants. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, in the latest development, the commissioners tossed out a new set of challenges over the grants that were filed this spring. “The Commission finds that the Complaint does not raise probable cause to believe that a violation of law or abuse of discretion has occurred. All claims are hereby dismissed,” attorneys working for the commission wrote in a letter they sent Wednesday to the lawyer who spearheaded the challenges. At issue is $8.8 million in grants the Center for Tech and Civic Life gave to Wisconsin’s five largest cities — Milwaukee, Madison, Green Bay, Racine and Kenosha. No one has challenged smaller grants the center gave to about 200 other Wisconsin municipalities. If two or more commissioners asked, the commission would have had to hold a hearing and take a vote on what to do. No commissioner asked for a hearing. Under commission rules, that means it has adopted the attorneys’ conclusions.
Accidental Elections Official: When Avi Hameroff and his wife Lindsay jokingly wrote Avi in on their November ballots for the role of Inspector of Elections—an elected position in Pennsylvania — they thought nothing of it. Then on November 30 Avi Homeroff received a letter from the Dauphin County elections office that he had been elected Minority Inspector of Elections in Lower Paxton Township. Dauphin County’s Elections Director, Jerry Feaser, told Fox43 for every person who accepts a write-in victory in an election, there are stacks of rejections. Feaser says the rejections can stem from people who either didn’t know they had been wrote-in or someone had done it as a joke. However, with a little training, Avi Hameroff plans to be Lower Paxton Township’s newest Minority Inspector of Elections. He will help oversee election days in his precinct, check-in voters, and help with provisional ballots. Hameroff will serve a four year term. He will earn a $140-per-Election Day stipend, plus $20 for attending a training session. The money, he says, is irrelevant. Ultimately, it’s a reminder that any of us can serve. Welcome to the world of elections Avi. We’re happy to have you, no matter how you got here.
Grassroots Voting Stations: An interesting phenomena has begun to emerge in vote-by-mail Washington. Activists are setting up what are being referred to as “grassroots voting stations” to help residents print and mail ballots. According to the Capitol Hill Seattle Blog, King County Elections says it began hearing complaints about the ballot printing during the General Election. Elections officials say registered voters are able to access and print their ballot online. “This is primarily for our service and overseas voters, voters with a disability, as well as for local voters who maybe lost their ballot or realized they didn’t receive one at the last minute. It saves folks a trip to a Vote Center,” a statement from KCE reads. KCE says campaigns and organizations are also allowed to help people print their ballot. “Even if someone prints out a ballot and returns their original ballot that we mailed to their house, we will only count one,” the statement reads. “Each ballot – even those printed online – have their own unique identifiers that are tied to the individual voter so we cannot accept more than one ballot per voter.” Officials say the printed ballots go through “exactly the same process as mail ballots.” “Our alternative format team confirms that they voter is appropriately registered and hasn’t already returned a ballot. The signature is verified – printed ballots required the exact same declaration as the one on the back of the return envelope. And then it’s processed just like every other ballot.”
Personnel News: Ryan Cowley is the new director of elections for the state of Utah. Jodi Morales has been appointed to the New York City board of elections. Towanna Dixon has been named the director of the Moore County, North Carolina board of elections. Eric Olsen is the new Prince William County, Virginia elections supervisor. Kim Crockett has announced her candidacy for Minnesota secretary of state. Vincent Ignizio is the new deputy executive director of the New York City board of elections. He replaces Dawn Sandow who has been reassigned to another office. Former Johnson County, Kansas commissioner Mike Brown has announced his candidacy for secretary of state. Teri Loew is retiring after 30 years as the Calhoun County, Michigan chief deputy clerk of elections.
Massachusetts Ballot Measure: A ballot measure that if approved would have required voters to show a photo ID in order to vote is not moving forward after organizers failed to gather enough signatures. The Committee to Bring Voter ID to Massachusetts, a ballot committee behind the initiative, needed to collect at least 80,000 signatures into Secretary of State Bill Galvin’s office — the first of several hurdles to get onto next year’s ballot. But the committee wasn’t able to muster the signatures by the December 1 deadline. A summary of the proposed ballot question, which cleared a legal review by Attorney General Maria Healey, points out that voters who don’t have ID, or forget to bring it with them, would still be allowed to cast a ballot by filling out an affidavit at the polling station certifying their identity. Proponents have also filed several bills in the current legislative session to require voter ID that are pending before the Committee on Election Laws.
Missouri: Sen. Eric Burlison (R-Battlefield) says that he will introduce legislation in the upcoming session that will propose requiring voters to show a photo ID before voting, reforming election judge qualifications, and prohibiting cities from using outside funding for elections. “The 2020 election cycle raised numerous issues regarding mail-in ballots and the systems in place to count those votes. As a result, I have decided to file legislation that will ensure that Missouri has safe, fair, and secure elections,” writes Sen. Burlison. “In order to maintain our system of government and ensure the will of the voters is followed, we must do everything we can to ensure the integrity of our elections. This legislation promotes safe and fair elections, and I am looking forward to discussing these issues further with my colleagues in January.” Legislators were able to pre-file bills in Missouri on December first
New Jersey: A bill that previously passed the state Senate to raise poll-worker pay from $200 per day to $300 per day unanimously passed in the state Assembly on December 2. The Senate version was substituted for the Assembly version, and the legislation now goes to Gov. Phil Murphy for his signature. The bill also appropriates $7 million to the Department of State to reimburse the counties for the costs of implementing it. Under current law, election workers are paid $200 per day each time the primary election, the general election or any special election is held, according to the bill. The state has reimbursed $125 of the payment to election workers while the counties have paid the rest. The bill increases the state’s reimbursement to $225 while keeping the counties’ sum at $75. Murphy temporarily raised poll-worker pay to $300 per day for the Nov. 2 election by executive order.
Assemblyman Christopher DePhillips has introduced a bill that permits county election officials to count mail-in ballots as they are received instead of waiting until Election Day. The bill (A6143) requires county boards of elections that start canvassing vote-by-mail ballots before Election Day to ensure the security of the process and confidentiality of the ballots until polls close.
North Carolina: Gov. Roy Cooper (D) a Republican-backed bill that would force elections officials not to count any mail-in ballots that arrive after polls close. “The legislature ironically named this bill ‘The Election Day Integrity Act’ when it actually does the opposite,” the Democratic governor said in a statement. “Election integrity means counting every legal vote, but this bill virtually guarantees that some will go uncounted.” One of the GOP sponsors of the bill, Sen. Paul Newton of Cabarrus County, said in a press release that he believes moving up the deadline would improve voters’ confidence in elections. The bill lawmakers passed in November, which Cooper has now vetoed, is Senate Bill 326 or the Election Day Integrity Act. It would require that no mail-in ballot delivered to elections leaders after 7:30 p.m. on Election Day can be counted, no matter when it was put in the mail.
Utah: A legislative committee is directing legislative auditors to look into the integrity of the state’s election systems. The committee approved the audit along party lines Tuesday evening. The letter requesting the audit, which was shared with KUER, asks staff to examine “the integrity and accuracy of voter rolls … The legitimacy and security of submitted ballots … [and] the integrity of the systems and processes of election offices.” It does not mention the 2020 election. House Majority Leader Rep. Mike Schultz, R-Hooper, requested the inquiry even though former President Donald Trump won in Utah last year. But Schultz said this isn’t about a particular party. “I don’t understand what we’re afraid of,” he said. “I’m hopeful that the audit that comes back clean and restores confidence or gives the citizens of the state confidence in our election process.” Republican Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson, who oversees the state’s elections, said she welcomes the audit and feels confident it won’t find widespread fraud. Still, she worries that it contributes to a false narrative that the 2020 election was stolen. “I think that Rep. Schultz is sincere in his desire to increase voter confidence,” Henderson said. “I do worry about the overall narrative and how this may contribute to it … It’s really destructive to people’s public trust and we need to be very cautious about that.” She said her office and county clerks regularly conduct election audits. She also has visited many clerk offices around the state this year to examine their processes and said they were all safe and secure.
Utah Ballot Measure: A group called Secure Vote Utah is promoting a new ballot initiative would require most voting to happen on Election Day at in-person precincts, plus election judges would be required to publicly release the results. It also would allow absentee ballot voting to happen on a limited basis. It would also create emergency ballots for people who wouldn’t be able to make it to their polling locations for unforeseen reasons. The initiative would also let a candidate to start a sample audit after an election. Salt Lake County Clerk Sherrie Swensen says the proposal wouldn’t make voting any more secure than it is now. She believes the initiative would set Utah’s election system back 40 years. Weber County Clerk/Auditor Ricky Hatch agrees the proposal would be significantly more expensive than our current election system. He was asked to work on the fiscal note for the proposed initiative. “I’m not done, but I’m already at $22 million,” Hatch said. The initiative is also being criticized by Utah Division of Indian Affairs Director Dustin Jansen. He says the law would not recognize tribal ID cards as accepted forms of ID. And many Native Americans live far away from their polling locations.
Wyoming: The Joint Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions Committee considered the election reform proposal, in a state where the Republican candidate is often all but guaranteed victory. Proponents of runoff elections say they would prevent someone from succeeding with less than a majority vote — a regular occurrence in Wyoming Republican primaries with multiple candidates. The committee indefinitely tabled runoff legislation and voted down a constitutional amendment that would have served as a necessary counterpart to the bill. The committee voted down the amendment first, with five lawmakers in favor, eight against and one excused. Without a constitutional amendment, the runoff bill was essentially moot, and the committee voted in favor of tabling it. If the bill was successfully signed into law, it would not have gone into effect until 2024.
Redistricting: Courts in states throughout the country are weighing in, or choosing not to, on redistricting proposals. Electionline doesn’t cover redistricting too much other than the practical implications for election administrators but we thought we’d provide you a brief roundup of some of the ongoing legal battles. In Georgia, several lawsuits have been filed over the state’s new maps with plaintiffs arguing that the state’s redrawn districts reduce the voting strength of people of color who accounted for the state’s population growth over the past decade but could lose representation after next year’s elections. In North Carolina, the start of candidate filing for U.S. House and legislative seats was blocked on this by an appeals court panel — only to be restored hours later when most Court of Appeals judges agreed they wanted to decide whether a longer filing delay was warranted. A three-judge panel of the intermediate level appeals court had issued a temporary stay and told state and local officials not to begin accepting candidates for those seats. Their districts are the subject of litigation that argue the lines approved by the Republican-controlled General Assembly last month are illegal partisan gerrymanders. The panel had given Republican legislative leaders and the state until Thursday to respond to the arguments of the North Carolina League of Conservation Voters, which leads a lawsuit. The league’s attorney said the candidate filing period should be suspended for a while so appeals courts can scrutinize the actual maps. An order signed by the court’s clerk late in the day declared a majority of the judges agreed to rehear the matter, and that the temporary delay of the filing period has been vacated. Ten of the 15 Court of Appeals judges are registered Republicans. On Wednesday, the North Carolina Supreme Court suspended candidate filing for the 2022 primary elections and ordered that the primaries be delayed until May 17. The Ohio Supreme Court heard arguments in three cases this week over the state’s new maps. All of the lawsuits question the constitutionality of the maps, especially provisions of the constitution that directed the commission not to draw maps that favor or disfavor one political party over another, and ensuring compliance with the Voting Rights Act. The U.S. Department of Justice has filed suit against Texas’ redistricting plans. Attorney General Merrick Garland said the state’s redistricting maps approved by the Texas Legislature earlier this year effectively dilute the voting strength of people of color. “The right to vote is foundational to our democracy,” Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta said, adding that the federal government’s complaint claims that Black and Latino voters have been denied an “equal opportunity” to participate in the voting process because of the reconfiguration of state voting districts. “Several of the districts were drawn with discriminatory intent,” Gupta said. The Washington Supreme Court ruled that a plan adopted by the state’s redistricting commission “substantially complied” with statutory deadlines, and declined to adopt a new redistricting plan for the state.
Arizona: A three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit reversed a lower court’s injunction that prohibited the state from throwing out mail-in ballots that have not been signed by Election Day. After Navajo Nation sued Arizona in 2018 over varying dates to correct unverified signatures, the Legislature imposed strict deadlines mandating the ballots be corrected within five days of the election. While not explicitly addressed by the law, Arizona’s secretary of state and attorney general enforced an Election Day deadline on missing signatures. According to the state, the former is an issue of verification, while the later is an error of voter negligence. Rather than letting voters sign their original ballot, Arizona sends a provisional ballot for a second chance to cast their vote. Therefore the state argued it isn’t possible to correct the issue after Election Day. The Arizona Democratic Party sued the state in June 2020 claiming the deadline for missing signatures denied voters due process and violated their First and Fourteenth Amendment rights. After a federal judge ruled in favor of the Democrats, the state appealed to the Ninth Circuit and oral arguments took place in July 2021. “The state had an important regulatory interest in reducing the administrative burden on poll workers, especially during the busy days immediately following an election. In light of the minimal burden on the voter to sign the affidavit or to correct a missing signature by Election Day, the state’s interest sufficiently justified the election-day deadline,” wrote U.S. Circuit Judge Susan P. Graber, a Bill Clinton appointee, for the majority. In the 20-page opinion, Graber described the state’s examination of ballots and efforts to contact voters who forgot to sign them as “a measure of grace.” A voter who learns their ballot signature was missing at 7:01 pm after polls close on Election Day is simply out of luck. While the majority found Arizona’s rule constitutional, Graber clarified the opinion “merely sets a floor. Nothing in our opinion should be construed as dissuading Arizona, or other states, from providing a more generous deadline than the Constitution requires.”
Florida: The U.S. Department of Justice has filed a statement of interest in a lawsuit brought by the Florida State Conference of the NAACP over Florida’s new voting law. In its statement, the DOJ explained “Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 prohibits…any voting standard, practice, or procedure that results in the denial or abridgement of the right of any citizen to vote on account of race, color, or membership in a language minority group.” The DOJ is not a party to the case, but filed the brief “to assist the Court in interpreting Sections 2 and 208” of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The statement argues that attorneys for Florida and Secretary of State Laurel Lee “misconstrue the legal standards governing enforcement of these provisions.” “The DOJ also asserts that the state of Florida misapplied the law,” said Mark Shlakman, professor of law at Florida State University. “So, the DOJ position, and it’s weighing in on a relatively narrow basis, multiple grounds, but it’s really attempting to clarify…that a summary judgment would avoid altogether any focused consideration of the facts.” The DOJ brief also argues that the state of Florida’s motion for summary judgment “rests on a legal error: it fails to recognize that the burdens imposed by SB 90’s provisions can be compounding, as well as individually burdensome.”
Georgia: Two Fulton County elections workers are suing a popular far-right website that repeatedly spread false accusations that the workers committed mass voter fraud, arguing The Gateway Pundit’s claims led to racist threats and real-world harassment. The defamation suit, filed in Missouri where the site’s publishers Jim and Joe Hoft reside, says that The Gateway Pundit wrote a series of articles falsely accusing Ruby Freeman and her daughter, Wandrea “Shaye” Moss of altering election results after former President Donald Trump narrowly lost the state in the 2020 election. Other suits are pending against fellow pro-Trump outlets Newsmax and One America News as well as Fox News for claims made about voting machine vendors and their employees. “With no concern for the truth or the consequences of their willful conduct, Defendants baselessly portrayed Plaintiffs as traitors who participated in a carefully planned conspiracy to steal the presidential election in Georgia,” the lawsuit reads. “Within 24 hours, the claims had been publicly and definitively refuted by Georgia elections officials through a detailed explanation of what the misinterpreted video actually showed: no suitcases; no illegal ballots; no voter fraud.” The lawsuit says after elections officials knocked down the claims made by The Gateway Pundit and other pro-Trump media outlets, Jim and Joe Hoft continued to write false stories about the two election workers while knowing that they were not true. The suit also details harassment the two Black women faced after The Gateway Pundit stories received traction, including at least 400 emails, 75 text messages and countless phone calls. Strangers showed up to their homes, including two occasions where people tried to force their way inside to make a “citizen’s arrest.”
Massachusetts: Ward 4 Springfield City Council candidate Jynai McDonald last week filed a complaint in Hampden Superior Court seeking to void her election loss to Malo Brown based on allegations of a flawed absentee ballot system, election violations and voter intimidation. McDonald asked that a judge consider the case and “declare the election of the defendant void.” The complaint listed the city of Springfield and Brown as defendants. In Framingham, Middlesex Superior Court Judge Chris Barry-Smith has ordered a new election for Framingham District 3 City Council. “I find that: (1) two votes counted for Feeney during the recount should have been counted as blank, leaving Steiner with two more votes than Feeney; (2) Feeney has identified two voting irregularities that place in doubt the results of the District 3 election; such that (3) the election as to District 3 councilor is set aside and a new election is ordered,” wrote the judge in a ruling.
Michigan: U.S. District Judge Linda Parker ordered a group of pro-Trump lawyers who sued to block President Biden’s 2020 electoral win in Michigan to pay $175,000 in sanctions. The nine sanctioned attorneys, who were ordered to divide the costs equally, included Sidney Powell and Lin Wood, two of the more prominent promoters of the former president’s false claims about the 2020 election results being tainted by voter fraud and irregularities. The order is a follow up to Parker’s decision in August that the attorneys would be required to pay the legal fees of the city of Detroit and state elections officials involved in the case, with the amount to be determined later. Parker also referred them at that time for further disciplinary action, including possible disbarment, saying their lawsuit targeting Michigan’s voting results represented “a historic and profound abuse of the judicial process.” Parker ordered that payment be made to Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D) in the amount of roughly $22,000, with the remaining $153,000 to be paid to the city of Detroit. Parker agreed to pause enforcement of the payments if her ruling in the sanctions case is appealed.
Mississippi: Senior Status Judge Jeff Weill has ordered Canton’s Municipal Election Commission (CMEC) to certify the 2021 general election results. Secretary of State Michael Watson had filed suit after the election commission refused to certify the results 10 days following the election. “CMEC is required to either certify the winners of the general election or to order a new election after holding a hearing to determine if the facts warrant doing so,” Weill wrote. “Since the latter was not done – and, frankly was not a realistic possibility given the facts of the case – the CMEC’s only option per statute is to certify the election results.” Under the order, the commission must certify the results of the mayor’s race, as well as the council races for Wards 3, 4, 6 and 7 within seven days. The commission did not sign off on the results, saying that a judge had declared the actions of the group that oversaw the Democratic primary invalid. Weill says state statute allows the commission to call new elections at individual precincts in certain circumstances, such as candidates or candidate surrogates campaigning within 150 feet of a voting precinct. The statute limits commissioners’ power to call for new election specific to ballot boxes, not all boxes in a multi-precinct election, Weill wrote.
New Jersey: More than a year after an election for South Toms River Borough Council ended in a tie, a state appellate court ordered a special election to fill a seat that’s been vacant since April. The 2020 election initially resulted in a 772 to 772 tie between Democrat George Rutzler and incumbent Sandford Ross, a Republican. But a challenge by Democrats led to the Ocean County Board of Elections invalidating ballots cast in the vote-by-mail election by two elderly voters who apparently misunderstood the instructions and signed both the outer ballot envelope and the actual ballot. That led to Rutzler being certified as the winner and sworn into office. In April, Superior Court Judge Arnold Goldman removed Rutzler from office and ordered a June special election. By a 3-1 vote, the Ocean County Board of Elections challenged Goldman’s order. Frank Holman, the GOP county chairman, voted against the appeal, but the two Democrats – including Matthew Sage, whose job as South Toms River municipal attorney was on the line – were joined by Republican Israel Schenkolewski, a Lakewood rabbi who has served on the board for decades. In their appeal, the deputy state attorney general Dominic Giova argued that Goldman erred by reinstating the ballots cast by F.D. and D.C., saying the signed ballots ought to have nullified them. The appellate panel disagreed with Giova. “We construe the statute to direct that ballots with markings or signatures are to be counted, ‘unless’ the Board or a court finds the voter ‘intended’ to mark or sign the ballot ‘to identify or distinguish’ the ballot,” the judges wrote. “The factual question is what the two voters intended by signing their ballot.” “We interpret that statute to create a presumption in favor of counting the ballot unless a fact finder determines that the marking or signature on the ballot was intended to identify or distinguish the ballot.,” the judges said. The trial court’s findings concerning the intent of F.D. and D.C. are supported by credible evidence in the record.
Tennessee: U.S. District Judge Eli Richardson has ruled that a law that blocks sharing absentee ballot application forms will remain in effect. Tennessee voters must apply for a vote-by-mail or absentee ballot by completing and submitting an application to their local election commission, who will then handle the process of sending out ballots to those eligible voters. But state law imposes a felony charge for anyone who shares those applications with another person if they’re not an employee of an election commission. Voting rights activists last summer sued the state in an attempt to overturn the law. They argue handing out the application is an effective part of get-out-the-vote campaigns to put the tools in people’s hands more easily. Richardson denied a motion for an injunction against the law in September, ahead of the presidential election last fall. He reiterated most of the same arguments in Tuesday’s ruling. “The Court must decide for itself what the Law does and does not prohibit. And as the Court explained at considerable length in its Preliminary Injunction Opinion, the Law simply does not prohibit any conduct that is expressive,” he wrote. “Accordingly, the Court concludes that the Law does not restrict expressive conduct and thus is not within the scope of the First Amendment.”
Arizona: The City of Chandler held a mock election in November as a test of blockchain technology. Chandler City Clerk Dana DeLong said the process was informative and that 202 ballots were counted—a 203rd ballot was received but not counted because the voter signed their name alongside a smiley face. “We learned a lot about the process and had representatives from the county recorder’s office and state to watch,” DeLong said. “We were able to have this conversation about the process and what we were doing. We are the first city in the state of Arizona to use this technology for an election. It was on brand for Chandler, being the first and innovating.” Residents were able to vote from their mobile devices throughout the month of November. When the votes were tabulated at City Hall Dec. 1, the ballots were printed out and counted, DeLong said. Voters responded to a series of questions, including a question that asked them to rank the voting modality they prefer the most—voting in person, blockchain voting, using drop-off centers and mailing ballots. DeLong said people who voted said they preferred mobile voting and blockchain technology; the second method voters preferred was mail-in ballots. But the mock election likely won’t change city of Chandler elections any time in the near future, DeLong said. The city does not run its own elections, rather elections are held through Maricopa County, so the county would need to adopt the blockchain technology. “It was good being able to talk about this and see where we could go in the future, and the county wanted to try it; now we know Chandler could participate,” DeLong said. “It was a great learning experience.”
District of Columbia: Tusk Philanthropies is bringing its mobile voting project to D.C., hoping to make the nation’s capital the first place in the country where residents can use phones and computers to cast ballots. Tusk, a former campaign advisor to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and one-time Uber official, has in recent years funded mobile-voting pilot programs across seven states — including Washington, West Virginia, and Oregon — largely to support overseas and military voters. But his effort in D.C. would represent the first push to make mobile voting a permanent part of elections for all voters. “D.C. will be a pioneer for opening this up for all eligible voters. It would be the first in the nation to do that for D.C. elections,” says Jocelyn Bucaro, a former elections administrator in Denver who now leads Tusk’s Mobile Voting Project. “D.C. is really proving to be a place for progressive election reform and making voting easier and more convenient for voters. And I know the D.C. Council is committed to that. So we wanted to join their efforts and be supportive if we can.”
Opinions This Week
Alabama: Secretary of state
Alaska: Ballot tracking
Iowa: Ballot measure;
Nevada: Voting rights
Utah: Ranked choice voting
Virginia: The Big Lie
Washington: Election integrity
U.S. EAC Local Leadership Council: The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) Local Leadership Council will hold their inaugural meeting to launch this new FACA board. Board members will be officially sworn in, and will receive information from the Designated Federal Officer and senior EAC staff about the duties and roles members are responsible for. Members will also receive a briefing on the work of the EAC and what the agency is working on for the year to come. This will be the inaugural meeting of the new advisory board. When: December 10 at 1pm Eastern. Where: Online.
Democracy Fund Language Access for Voters Summit: We hope you will join our summit on the importance of language access for voters. With the newest set of Section 203 determinations likely to be released in early December, this virtual convening of election officials, voting rights advocates, and translation experts will feature discussions on a variety of language needs and the services necessary to meet those needs, to meet voters where they are. Join us on December 13-14th at 2pm ET/11am PT to share ideas, tools, and best practices with a focus on practical ideas about what needs to be done between now and November 2022 in order to provide effective language assistance in communities across the United States. Please stay tuned for more information about our program, panelists, and workshops. When: December 13-14, 2pm-5pm Eastern. Where: Online.
IGO Mid-Winter Conference: The International Association of Government Officials will hold its 2022 Mid-Winter Conference in-person in Indian Wells, California. Registration is currently available. Check back for more information on the agenda. When: January 20-25, 2022. Where: Indian Wells, California.
NASED Winter Conference: Watch this space for more information. When: January 27-30, 2022. Where: Washington, DC.
NASS Winter Conference: Watch this space for more information. When: January 27-30, 2022. Where: Washington, DC.
Job Postings This Week
electionlineWeekly publishes election administration job postings each week as a free service to our readers. To have your job listed in the newsletter, please send a copy of the job description, including a web link to email@example.com. Job postings must be received by 5pm on Wednesday in order to appear in the Thursday newsletter. Listings will run for three weeks or till the deadline listed in the posting.
Account Management Specialist, EI-ISAC— The EI-ISAC is looking for an ambitious teammate who is passionate about making a difference in the realm of cybersecurity for (SLTT) election offices. The ideal candidate will be comfortable building relationships with the election community to support and advance the mission of “confidence in a connected world.” What You’ll Do: Support the development and execution of the EI-ISAC strategy and mission; Assist election officials to determine security needs and how they integrate with election technology; Facilitate communications between election officials and IT professionals; Provide exceptional service to all members and be able to explain the concepts and services that can protect their technology via email, phone calls, and WebEx meetings/conferences; Ensure ongoing customer satisfaction and retention; Assist with the scheduling and running of member meetings and webinars; Responsible for the onboarding process of new members; Research, record, track, and report on member prospects and qualified leads to the team and management; Assist with data cleanup, reporting, and any ongoing projects; Update metrics for EI-ISAC reports and presentations; Represent the EI-ISAC in a professional and courteous manner; and Other tasks and responsibilities as assigned. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Assistant Registrar of Voters, San Diego County, California— The Assistant Registrar of Voters is an executive management position reporting to the Registrar of Voters (Director). The Assistant Registrar assists the Registrar in managing the overall responsibilities and activities of the Department to include providing eligible citizens of San Diego County with widespread and ongoing opportunities to register and vote in fair and accurate elections for all federal, state and local offices and measures; and provide access to the information needed to utilize the initiative, referendum, and recall petition processes. The ideal candidate for this position will have sound decision-making skills in election administration, as well as organizational and political acumen in order to advise and provide direction for ROV programs and services. Candidates familiar with election administration principles, campaign finance, election technologies, voting procedures, and federal and California election laws are preferred. Salary: $150,000- $160,000. Deadline: Jan. 7, 2022. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
CEO, Democracy Works— Democracy Works seeks a strategic, committed leader to serve as its Chief Executive Officer. Democracy Works’ rise over the last 11 years was led by its Founding Chief Executive Officer who will be stepping down at the end of 2021. The incoming CEO will step into an organization in strong financial and strategic health, with an exceptional team. Reporting to Democracy Works’ Board of Directors, the CEO will serve as the organization’s most senior external advocate and fundraiser, overseeing the organization’s continued growth in its current moment and beyond. The CEO will also set organizational strategy, enabling Democracy Works to continue to deliver consistent, high-quality products, research, and expert assistance in pursuit of a fairer voting system. As the organization’s primary strategic leader, the CEO will support Democracy Works’ leadership team and staff to achieve exceptional results and impact at scale. Upon starting, it is anticipated that the CEO will lead an organizational strategic review and a foundational analysis of organizational strengths and opportunities in the areas of diversity, equity, inclusion, and access working closely with staff to chart its course into the future. The CEO will play a critical leadership role to foster an inclusive workplace that not only values and is responsive to the diversity of staff and the audiences it serves, but elevates all voices and identities across its work internally and with external partners. CEO will also build the organization’s internal capacity to ensure diversity, equity, and inclusion are central tenets of Democracy Works and are embedded across the organization. The CEO will directly manage a senior leadership team of 8 and an organization of over 60 staff. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Director, Filing, Disclosure and Compliance Division, Michigan Secretary of State’s Office— This position serves as the Director of the Bureau of Elections’ Filings, Disclosure and Compliance Division. The Division is responsible for administering the Campaign Finance Act, Lobbyist Registration Act, Casino Registration Act, portions of the Michigan Election Law, and Notary Public Act. This position is responsible for managing and overseeing multiple complex work units and other professional staff; core programs related to campaign finance and lobby registration reporting, disclosure and compliance; Office of the Great Seal, including intake of enrolled bills and assignment of Public Act numbers, filing of Executive Orders and Executive Directives, document authentication and certification; state-level candidate filings for office and statewide initiative, referendum and constitutional amendment petition filings; and Bureau responsibilities related to the Board of State Canvassers. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Election Administrator, Hood County, Texas— Provides customer assistance necessary in structuring, organizing and implementing the voter registration process and the county election process. Examples of Important Responsibilities and Duties—Important responsibilities and duties may include, but are not limited to, the following: Perform voter registration duties and the duties of organizing and conducting elections for the county; Hire, supervise and train department employees and election workers; Custodian of election equipment and all election records; Effectively manage public relations for the Election Administrator office by providing election information, issuing press releases, conducting interviews and participating in interviews with the media; Prepare and present annual department budget for approval of the County Elections Commission; Make reports to and work closely with the County Election Commission as well as the County Commissioners Court; Provide the clerical assistance needed by the Commissioners Court in canvassing precinct election returns; Responsible for filing of petitions, determining their validity and any other matters preceding the ordering of the election; Be willing to work and possibly contract with other political subdivisions in the county for their election needs; Attend annual Texas Secretary of State Election Law Seminar and any other functions deemed necessary; Represent the county in an honest and professional manner; and Perform any and all other duties of an Election Administrator as set forth in the Texas Election Code. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Elections Analyst-Candidate Filings, Arizona Secretary of State’s Office— The Election Services Division of the Office of the Arizona Secretary of State is seeking a dedicated employee to serve as an Elections Analyst. This position will assist in administering elections, provide customer service to voters and the regulated community, communicate with Arizona counties, and maintain compliance with state and federal election laws. The main focus of the Election Analyst will be managing the candidate desk. Job Duties: Lead the planning and administering of the candidate petition review process, to include working with vendors and third parties to prepare and execute review process for candidate petitions. Develop training materials and handbooks. Present information to stakeholders and interested parties regarding the candidate filing process. Follow court challenges at the close of the candidate filing process. Maintain the candidate information on the webpage. Act as the primary contact for candidates and campaigns about the candidate filing process; Assist ballot measure desk lead in administering petition review process for initiatives, referendum, and recalls. Assist in developing training materials and handbooks for ballot measures. Assist in processing of circulator registrations related to petition circulation and creation of training materials and handbooks for circulator registrations; Act as subject matter expert in financial disclosure laws and regulations. Draft training materials and handbooks to assist filers in achieving compliance with disclosure requirements. Communicate with officeholders and proxies, judicial officers, and court administrators to provide accurate and concise filing information and instructions. Work with court administrators to track and inform new appointees of filing obligations. Track financial disclosure filings and initiate enforcement proceedings as necessary; Provide customer service to voters, election officials, and the general public regarding elections and voter registration. Provide support and guidance to the regulated community and the general public in areas of Elections Division oversight, including ballot measures, petition circulators, lobbyists, campaign finance, financial disclosures, etc.; As required, serve in a general capacity to accomplish Elections Division goals and meet deadlines. Provide support to upline managers by occasionally coordinating employee teams or working with specialized staff to complete projects. Assist fellow staff during periods of heavy volume; Help maintain all election-related information presented on the Secretary of State website, while ensuring content quality and functionality. Provide timely and accurate updates to election-related pages; and other duties as assigned as related to the position. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Elections Analyst-Public Records, Arizona Secretary of State’s Office— The Elections Division of the Office of the Arizona Secretary of State is seeking a dedicated employee to serve as an Election Analyst. Their main focus will be to fulfill public records requests submitted to the Elections Division. They will report to the Senior Elections Policy Manager. Job Duties: Responsible for receiving, reviewing, and fulfilling public records requests and litigation discovery requests. This process includes the following tasks: tracking requests; communicating with the requester on topics such as fulfillment guidelines, costs, and updates on progress; coordinate collection and organization of responsive records by working with IT, elections, and other staff members; and reviewing and preparing documents for delivery; Responsible for records retention and document storage. Ensure Elections Division stores minimum hard copy documents consistent with the retention schedule; ensures that electronic records are properly maintained. Maintains records retention schedule, Iron Mountain storage, and schedules proper records destruction; Conducts ballot measure Town Halls. Organizing these events includes: scheduling venues; scheduling interpreters as needed (sign language, Spanish); conducting publicity and outreach; ensuring pro and con groups are represented; preparing and delivering presentation; Produces statewide Publicity Pamphlet by working with the vendor on layout, printing and proofing; coordinate the development of the household mailing list; ensuring pamphlets printed for English, Spanish, large print, and ADA; and ensure electronic version of pamphlet is appropriately distributed; Assist with voter registration quarterly reports, list maintenance, and other projects as assigned; Assist with customer service via phones and emails to voters, election officials, and the general public regarding elections and voter registration; and Other duties as assigned as related to the position. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Elections Director, Pinal County, Arizona— Under the direction of the County Manager or designee performs professional work of considerable difficulty planning, directing, coordinating and controlling overall operations of the Elections Department to ensure that goals and objectives are accomplished in compliance with all elections laws. The Elections Director works to maintain a secure, transparent, accessible, free and fair election that inspires public confidence in the election system. This position is not covered under the Pinal County Merit System. Incumbents in this position serve at the pleasure of their respective Appointing Authority. The employment relationship of incumbents in this position is “at will” the employee may be terminated at any time, for any reason, with or without cause. Salary: $87,718 – $140,349. Application: For the complete listing and to apply, click here.
Fellowship, Arizona Secretary of State’s Office— The Arizona Secretary of State’s Office Elections Fellowship Program offers recent graduates who are interested in public service the opportunity to spend up to 12 months working with the Elections Division in the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office. The Elections Division advances the Secretary of State’s mission of ensuring a fair and secure election process across Arizona. The 2021-2022 fellows will have the exciting opportunity to work with our office during a midterm election cycle. The main fellowship duties will include work that advances the Secretary of State’s responsibilities regarding voter registration and data tracking. This position will be a good fit for someone who is detail-oriented and interested in learning more about elections administration. Throughout their fellowship, fellows will participate in monthly check-in meetings with an Elections team lead to receive guidance and feedback. Job Duties: Assisting with proofing voter registration statistics, researching voter cancelations, assisting uniformed and overseas citizens with voter registration and casting a ballot, election night reporting, proofing the official canvas, and other administrative duties; Maintaining and organizing records to track statutory voter registration list maintenance and election reporting requirements; Conducting document review to support the Office’s public records responses; Researching and responding to public inquiries; and Other duties and responsibilities as related to the position. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Government Services Strategy Impact and Learning Associate, CTCL— Election officials want to administer elections where every eligible voter can easily and securely cast their vote. But moving from intention to real-world impact can be challenging, especially without evidence of what works and what doesn’t work. As the Strategy, Impact, & Learning Associate on CTCL’s Government Services team, you will help measure and maximize the impact of CTCL’s work supporting election officials. You will identify metrics, design evaluations, coordinate with partners, and collect and analyze data. You will contribute to a culture of learning at the heart of CTCL’s Gov Services team, which will expand outward to our partners that work directly with election offices, and expand further outward to every election office in the country. You will be filling a new position and will report to the Senior Strategy, Impact, and Learning Manager. If you care about democracy, if you believe in the importance of public service, and if you love to exceed expectations, this is the job for you. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Michigan Regional Services Manager, Hart InterCivic— Hart InterCivic is looking for a Michigan-based Regional Services Manager. A Hart Michigan Service Manager is a highly motivated “self-starter” who responds to all customer requests ranging from training requests, to phone support requests, to onsite repair of voting equipment requests, to delivery and acceptance of new devices. This individual is the customer’s first line of support. The position requires residency in the State of Michigan. The Service Manager handles all Return Material Authorization (RMA) requests for internal and external customers for all Hart InterCivic Verity products within his/her region and provides on-site customer support and troubleshooting as needed. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Policy and Compliance Administrator, Denver, Colorado— The Elections Division provides comprehensive, nationally-recognized, election services for the City and County of Denver. These services include voter records management, voter services, petition management, election administration, elections operations, and strategic communications and outreach. The Elections program goal is to conduct fair, accurate, accessible, secure, transparent, efficient and reliable elections. Do you have a passion for serving others? If so, we want to hear from you! The City and County of Denver has an exciting opportunity for a Policy and Compliance Administrator to serve in the Office of the Clerk & Recorder Paul D. López.In this position, you will work with both divisions to ensure the office’s compliance with federal and state law. As a home rule municipality, Denver is uniquely situated to be involved with both state law and its own charter and ordinances. Additionally, as the Policy and Compliance Administrator, you can expect to: Interpret Denver and Colorado law to advise the Denver Clerk and Recorder on compliance issues related to his duties and the functions of the office; Draft legislation and administrative rules at the direction of the Clerk and Recorder; Serve as the Clerk’s legislative liaison to the Colorado General Assembly; Conduct research for policy determinations as directed by the Clerk and Recorder; Meet with stakeholders and members of the community to achieve the Clerk’s policy goals; Conduct comparative research and keep track of court cases; Represent the Clerk on inter-agency and inter-governmental commissions, etc.; Build strategic relationships for the Clerk and Recorder’s Office with other governmental entities, including the Colorado County Clerks’ Association; Coordinate with the City Attorney’s office to determine the Clerk’s legal strategy for litigation; Perform other duties as assigned or requested; and Assignments for this position are diverse in nature and require determining practical solutions in a fast-paced environment. Salary: $83,348 – $137,524. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Registrar of Voters, Orange County, California— Located on the Southern California coast with a culturally diverse population of 3 million, the County of Orange (Orange County) offers a high quality of life and a nearly perfect climate year-round. Orange County features excellence in education, low crime rate, a wide variety of businesses, and unlimited recreational opportunities. The County is seeking a dynamic leader with a strong elections experience, who is a visionary and a proven leader in communities, and involved at the highest levels of government at the federal, state, and local level in proven leadership positions. The ideal candidate will have high levels of integrity and be highly politically astute while maintaining absolute objectivity. A combination of education and experience that demonstrates the competency and ability to perform the duties of the position is qualifying. Typically, 10 years of progressively responsible experience in the election-related field and a Bachelor’s degree in Public Administration, Political Science, Business Administration, or a related field would be qualifying. A Master’s degree is highly desirable. Certification as a Certified Elections/Registration Administrator (CERA) is highly preferred. Salary: $125,153.60 – $237,348.80. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
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